Spiritual healing ceremonies are an aspect of all cultures that have existed from the early existence of humanity, and they will most likely continue to be used as a way to purify and renew your spirit until the end of time. When I say purify, I mean that the ceremonies are designed to cleanse your mind from emotional burdens, remove negative psychic energy from your spirit, and heal your body from the ailments that cause you pain.
Some healing ceremonies are personal journeys that you take alone such as a vision bath. This is a bath where you use the steam from hot water to communicate with spirits, receive their messages, and release your burdens. While you are relaxing in the steamy water, you should be in darkness as well. A few candles can light the room, but no bright lights that will break your concentration. You can also add oils and herbs to the water if you like.
Once the water is ready, and you are settled into the tub, close your eyes and relax. Focus on your breathing and take in all of your surroundings. Clarification will come easier to you in the bath because of the lack of light. Dulling one sense will make the others stronger, which is why you can connect with spirits more easily during this period of time.
In the Native American culture, a young adult will often take a vision quest on their own that allows them to clear their minds and help them choose a path in life that is spiritually attuned to their bodies. It is a rite of passage where you simply choose a path in the wilderness and attempt to communicate with the spirits of the animals and your ancestors who have come before you.
A vision quest can involve long periods of walking, a lack of food, and a lack of sleep. The quest typically lasts for a period of two to four days so any fasting that you experience during this time is only going to bring you closer to the elements and your surroundings. Each individual's experience will differ, but it is a great way to release your worldly burdens and become spiritually enlightened.
A sweat lodge is a group healing ceremony that is designed to re-purify the body and soul of the poisonous burdens that have attached to you. Often, it was a way to cleanse the body of any alcohol that was recently imbibed. The sweat lodge often faces towards the east, representing a new beginning for those taking part in the ceremony. The hut is not very large, and you will be sitting on a grassy area or swept dirt, no seats will be involved in the ceremony.
These ceremonies can start with a peace pipe and a prayer, but once the ceremony begins, you will sit cross-legged against the wall of the hut. Hot stones will be positioned in the center; typically, there are four to seven stones for each ceremony. As your body temperature rises during the ceremony, you will be able to receive messages from the spiritual world more easily. All of the participants in this event will have a chance to speak aloud, whether it is to pray to your ancestors or ask for guidance.
Ceremonies in a sweat lodge have four parts, each of which is 30 to 45 minutes long. They all focus on a different aspect of the healing process, and you can take a break from the heat in between sessions. Some choose to stay in the hut, while others decide to take a dip in a pool, stream, or roll in the snow.
For women, your menstrual cycle is the way that your body cleanses itself when you do not become pregnant. In many cultures, women are sent away when their body is going through this change, so the Red tent ceremony was created as a way to celebrate the life that this cleansing creates. The process of fertility healing is important for women, so that is why this is an important ceremony in many cultures.
No matter whether you are male or female, a young adult or someone who has lived for decades, your body and mind need to be cleansed, revived, and made whole again. Not all of these ceremonies will give you the healing that you need, but they can be a truly revitalizing experience for someone who needs spiritual cleansing.